Chhotoo Ghadge is an analyst working with a prominent firm. He recently debuted as an author by publishing a satirical collection of 74 short narrations. I spoke to him to find out more about him and his art of writing. Here are some excerpts from our conversation-
- Tell us something about your book “Lite Camera Fiction“:
The book is a collection of facebook posts which I have been writing since the past year and a half. I still continue to write. Whenever I write a post, I give a hindi movie title to the post and upload a song relevant to the post. Hence the title of the book is “Lite , Camera, Fiction”. Lite because they are light hearted. Stories written from the core of the heart -“Ekdum Dil Se”.
- When did you start writing?
During my school days, I used to write letters to newspaper editors, which never got published. Of late I started writing songs. Recently I wrote a 12 minute song on the life of a renowned cricketer. I have written songs on husband-wife relationship, politics, religion, spirituality etc.
- Impressive! I could see this being implemented in your book as well.
What is the purpose of your writing?
At my workplace whenever I would make fun-filled presentations, my purpose would be to get my colleagues relaxed by these presentations so that they can begin their work in a light mood. Using facebook as a medium, I started writing posts so that people relax by reading my posts before going to their workplaces. That is why I usually post between 8:30 am to 9:30 am. Just as the Mumbai ka “dabbawalas” provide tiffin service, on similar lines, the facebook posts serve as breakfast for the soul.
While writing I would giggle, smile, laugh and sometimes even cry, I want the reader to feel the same. Sometimes I would not write a post and my friends would ask me “Chhotoo, no post today?”, I would jokingly say that I am fasting and will break it in the evening.
Another purpose of writing these posts is demystifying complex issues. For example, with regards to spirituality, there are two paths that lead to God
- Path of Surrender
- Path of analysing.
Using a Bollywood song Is Mod Se Aate Hai, Kuch Susta Kadam Rasate , Kuch Tej Kadam Raahe, I try to demystify spirituality. We are soul and not the body. But poor soul is trapped in the body and is experiencing pain and sorrow. Using the song Shikaayate from the movie Lootere, I tried to explain the condition of the soul –
Naa Udane Ki Is Daffa Jaani
Parinde Ne Wafa Jaani
Andhere Ko Baah Me Leke
Ujaale Me Ghar Basaaya Hai
- Unlike other authors and regular novels, you have attempted something unique by writing satire. What kept you going?
It wasn’t a deliberate attempt. May be it comes to me naturally. Even if I want to criticize someone, I opt for sarcasm. I don’t believe in using harsh, filthy, foul language. As I said, the purpose of writing facebook posts was/is to make the readers feel relaxed. And so, even if I want to criticize certain policies of the government, I use humor to convey the message.
As a person, I do not take myself so seriously. So, when people call me “ChhotooJi” reminding me of my age, I take it in my stride and write fun-filled posts making fun of myself. Please read stories like balkalaakar etc in the book.
- You truly are an interesting person! What inspired you to bring forth these ideas as a book?
I had never thought of writing a book. In fact I used to ask my friends who are very talented writers to write and publish books. I had even suggested titles to them. Then some of my friends suggested that I should compile my facebook posts in the form of a book and so we approached “Notion Press” and decided to take self-publishing route.
- What is your idea of love, family and relationships on the whole?
My idea of love is very simple. Pyaar Lo Pyaar Do. Too much is said about giving but unless you allow someone to love you, it is difficult to unconditionally love others.
For instance, whenever my wife calls me up during lunch time and asks “Have you had your lunch”, I get really annoyed. Her asking me whether I have had my lunch is manifestation of her love and affection for me, but I cannot understand it. It is reflected in my dealing with others. And this applies to all relationships. In society, there is a huge trust and love deficit in any relationship. And the remedy is simple – Pyaar lo, Pyaar do.
You won’t believe me, I haven’t said I love you to me wife as yet. Never held her hand in public, never gave a greeting card. I haven’t affectionately called my son “Beta”, never kissed him, never hugged him, and never allowed him to sit on my lap. I am not reciprocating the love I receive to them and society as large.
- That is something I think you should you work upon because the happiness on your wife’s and son’s faces when you display your love will be priceless. 🙂
So how was this journey of becoming a published author? Give some insights of your efforts on getting your work published.
First things first, I really get embarrassed when someone calls me an author. *Laughs* I am a part-time writer. Mai Pal do pal ka writer hu.
The journey has been awesome. Till last moment, the name of the book was light camera action. Then suddenly, I thought that the title should be Lite Camera Fiction. And on many occasions I had to change the content too. The publishing company was kind enough to incorporate these changes. Since I was busy in my professional life, it was my wife who was dealing with the publishing company on daily basis. We fought, we argued but when we got the book in hand we felt the effort was worth.
In hindsight, I think that with proper planning we could have released the book much earlier. Since the book is dedicated to my father, I wanted it to be released on my father’s death anniversary but then we missed so many deadlines.
- You have self-published your book. What is your take on the traditional approach? Which approach is better according to you?
Traditional approach is very difficult, especially if you are working. So, self-publishing was the best and the only option available to me. I personally feel that for people like me, self-publishing is a gift of God. Very convenient and cost effective. But yes, there are many challenges and difficulties but I am sure that as the industry matures and many players enter the self publishing industry, it will be a win-win situation for the budding authors and the publishers.
Obviously traditional approach has huge advantage over self-publishing. If you have backing of established publisher then half the battle is already won. Same cannot be said about the publishing industry. But Self-publishing is here to say.
- What should the beginners / debutantes do today?
Enjoy your work because you are writer first.
Jo Bhi Karo , Karo Dil Se
Chhoro Nahi Kuch Kal Pe
Paisa Hi Sab Kuch Nahi Hai
Par Who Sabse Hasi Hai
Us Kaam Ko Aise Karo
Jaise Kal Ho Naa Ho
- Wow! You are a poet too. A very good attempt at that 🙂
What are your forthcoming writings?
Ab Hamare Dil Me Hai
Dekhana Hai Zor Kitana
Baajue Qatil Me Hai
- What are the four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
- Since the reader is mai-baap, I ensure that he / she should enjoy reading the book.
- There should be subtle message and not big gyaan.
- The reader should not have sit with a dictionary.
- Last but not the least, the reader’s time should not be taken for granted.
- You are a man of varied genres. What is your favorite genre and why?
Spirituality, Politics, Human relationships to name a few.
I don’t know whether you can call it a genre or not but improving Indo-Pak relationship is something I love to read and write about. I have written several songs and posts on this issue. There are many wishes which I want to get fulfilled before exiting this mortal world. But India-Pak becoming friends is my no. 1 wish. There are many posts dedicated to Indo-Pak relationship in this book. Dialogue between the two countries should continue in spite of hindrances because
Baat Hi Baat Se To
SulJha Karegi Uljhane
Isiliye Karni Hai Baat Re
Gutthi Naa Suljhe Abhi to
Kosegi Nai Nasale
Isliye Karni Hai Baat Re
- What / Who is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Parwardigaara, Parwardigaara (GOD). Everyday whenever I write a post there is someone who
inspires me from within. I don’t need an alarm to wake up. Sometimes I wake up as early as 2 am.
And then HE tells me “Chhotoo , here is a story, now publish it on facebook”. Writing these posts has really brought me closer to HIM.
Ye writing experience Mera
Laya Mujhke Tere Bahut Karib
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
Marketing. I feel very embarrassing to ask people to buy and read the book. May be it has something to do with my upbringing and middle class loser mentality. I am not one-fourth passionate about marketing as I am about writing. Very difficult to overcome this middle class mentality.
- It will grow on you with time. If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personalities, who would it be and why?
Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (May peace be with them) and my parasarathy Krishna. I don’t want to live their lives, I would like to serve them in my own capacity as a writer. I want to demystify their messages in my own way.
We cannot comprehend their messages using our tiny brains of which we are so proud. If we want to internalize their messages then
Ye Tera Ghar Kisi Ko Dekhana Ho Gar
To Pehle Aake Maang Le Meri Nazar
Meri Nazar, Ye Ghar Bahut Hasin Hai
—- All the saintly devotees, who follow the footsteps of the Lord
- And finally, any message for our readers?
Feel the pain of others. Put yourself in someone else’s shoe. Live and Let Live. Pyaar Lo Pyaar Do. Don’t restrict yourself to any boundary. Don’t be frog in the well. Sitaaro ke Aage Jaha Aur bhi Hai.
Here is a message on the lines of Aa Chal Ke Tujhe Mai Le Ke Chalu Ek Aise Gagan Ke Tale
Taali Par Khush Nahi Hona
Gaali Ko Chupchaap Sehna
Mehmaan Hai Ye Do Pal Ke
Kab Aae Aur Kab Jaaye
Mehmaan Ki Tarah Inhe Treat Tum Karo
Inse Rishta Koi Naa Bane
Jaha Gham Bhi Naa Ho
Aaso Bhi Naa ho
Bas Pyaar Hi Pyaar Pale
And most importantly,
TERA DHARM TUJHE GAR ACCHA LAGE
DOOSARON KA DHARM BURA NAA LAGE
KOI SHOR NAHI , KOI JOR NAHI
AISE MILKE KAAM KARE
EK AISE GAGAN KE TALE
This song has been recorded and will be released very soon on social media.
Wow! We all look forward to it and wish you all the very best!
So that was Chhotoo for you, author of Lite Camera Fiction.
You can get in touch with Chhotoo directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Madhuri for your author interview and getting your book reviewed / edited: email@example.com
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